What is the REFI-QDA Standard: Experimenting With the Transfer of Analyzed Research Projects Between QDA Software

Jeanine Evers, Mauro Ugo Caprioli, Stefan Nöst, Gregor Wiedemann


The open REFI-QDA standard allows for the exchange of entire projects from one QDA software to another, on condition that software vendors have built the standard into their software. To reveal the new opportunities emerging from overcoming QDA software lock-in, we describe an experiment with the standard in four separate research projects done by several researchers during a week at the Lorentz Centre (The Netherlands) in August 2019. Each researcher exchanged some processed research data between two qualitative data analysis software (QDAS) packages. We start by envisaging the development of the REFI-QDA standard, followed by the context of each research project, the type(s) of data in it, the reasons for wanting to do the transfer to another program and the lessons learnt in doing so. We conclude with the benefits of the REFI-QDA standard and the issues to be taken into account when considering a transfer between QDAS.


qualitative data analysis; QDAS; CAQDAS; ATLAS.ti; iLCM; NVivo; Transana; Quirkos; REFI-QDA project; REFI-QDA standard; REFI-QDA codebook; interoperability; use cases REFI-QDA

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3439

Copyright (c) 2020 Jeanine Evers, Mauro Ugo Caprioli, Stefan Nöst, Gregor Wiedemann

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